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Title: The discursive mythological construction of the Muslim Brotherhood and their foes: The case of the Arabic and English news articles of Al-Jazeera
Authors: Marzouq, Thamer Abdullah Mohammed
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Drawing on Kelsey’s discourse-mythological approach (2015c) to critical discourse studies, the project at hand aims to examine the extent to which the discursive construction of mythology appears to impact the online portrayals of the Muslim Brotherhood Party and their opponents between the Arabic and English websites of Al-Jazeera. In conducting this research, a corpus of straight news reports and opinion articles covering the period between the ousting of President Muḥammad Mursī (Mohammed Morsi) on 3rd July 2013, until the end of 2014, was collected, downsized, and analysed. The analysis included the usage of two supplementary approaches, one of which is thematic analysis, and the other is a manual analysis technique that was, specifically, improvised for the purpose of the study. Al-Jazeera Arabic (AJA) is argued to have always been broadcasting to the support and sympathy of Islamist parties, including the MB (Sakr, 1999; Cherribi, 2006; Dabbous-Sensenig, 2006; Al-Najjar, 2009, p. 3; Al-Qassemi, 2012; Kessler, 2012; Mellor and Rinnawi, 2016; Seib, 2016; Obaid, 2020). Following the transfer of power in 2013, the majority of AJA journalists are said to have viewed the MB as victims and that it is “the moral duty” of Al-Jazeera to stand up for them (Mellor and Rinnawi, 2016, p. 276). It has been the long argument of critical discourse analysts that different news outlets construct different social realities (Fowler, 1991; Trew, 1991). Putting the MB into the equation, the study seeks to understand whether or not such an argument still holds true between the two sites of the same news provider, Al-Jazeera. More importantly, the study pays specific attention to the practice of mythological storytelling, the extent to which it impacts the narratives on both sites in a similar and different manner. Although the Arabic and English articles across the two sites seem to agree on defending MB and attacking their opponents, each site, however, appears to construct the choice of mythical narratives in line with the social and cultural values of the target audience, resonating more with their collective psyche. Moreover, Al-Jazeera appears to be more inclined towards attacking the anti-MB social actors than defending the MB. Interestingly, such a case appears to be more evident in Arabic data as opposed to the English ones, and even more so with opinion articles than it is the case with straight news stories. Indeed, approaching the study of news through the lens of mythology, storytelling, and narratives has been witnessing a mounting interest by scholars over the past three decades (Bird and Dardenne, 2009; Wahl-Jorgensen and Schmidt, 2020). Nonetheless, its application seems to have been mostly restricted to the analysis of monolingual news discourse. Moreover, Arabic languages, among others, still did not receive enough attention (if anything at all). Therefore, this examination is hoped to provide some insights as to the potential implication of mythological analysis in the context of bilingual news discourse, which includes Arabic, among other languages. Moreover, the application of mythological analysis in news may help in gaining more insights as to the manipulative nature of mythological storytelling and how it is used aesthetically in news discourse, the likes of which Al-Jazeera is known for stirring and mobilising emotions. Keywords: Critical discourse analysis; mythology; archetypes; narratives; storytelling; media discourse; online news; media representation; identity construction; cross-linguistic CDA; religious discourse; aesthetics; journalism; Islamism; politics
Description: IPhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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